It used to be a problem, now it’s nothing short of a menace, particularly for the farmers. The growing population of monkeys in various parts of Himachal has forced the government to act and among the initiatives adopted to tackle the menace is the ‘Catch a monkey and take away Rs 500′ scheme.
The plan is part of a forest wildlife department programme that has set a target to sterilise over 3 lakh monkeys in the state in the coming few months. 10 crore rupees have been sanctioned for the campaign.
Sterilizing one monkey costs the government 1,000 rupees and the operation is conducted at four monkey sterilisation centres at Tutikandi in Shimla,Sastar in Hamirpur, Gopalpur in Kangra and in Una. Around 20 more such centres are to be set up. 30,000 monkeys have already been operated upon. After the surgery, the simians are allowed to recover at the centre, and are then released in jungles.
However, the Himachal Pradesh Kisan Morcha is of the view that the strerilisation drive would help little in controlling the population of the monkeys and instead wants permission for culling. As per forest department estimates, over 9 lakh farmers are affected by monkeys destroying their standing crops.
The problem persists in Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Mandi and Kangra districts. The menace has assumed such an alarming proportion that the state government has even requested the Centre to include the appointment of crop protectors from wild animals under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
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